Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Training for 14ers

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
User avatar
Posts: 1518
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:27 pm
Location: Denver/Golden

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby SurfNTurf » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:12 am

I'm always the voice of dissent in these types of threads, but I've never ran more than three miles at once in my entire life. I do pretty OK in the mountains.

Living at sea level preparing for 14ers, I trained in the gym on a stairmaster and by walking on a treadmill at max incline. Now that I live in Denver, I mostly just get above treeline every 5-7 days. That's it. If I get stuck in the city for a weekend or two in a row I do a difficult nearby training hike such as Mt. Falcon or Mt. Morrison.

I can cruise through 6,500 feet and 15 miles, but I doubt my ability to run a 5K. Running isn't the end-all be-all training method.
Many Miles to Go (Blog)

“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper

User avatar
Posts: 527
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:18 pm

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby Tornadoman » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:18 am

SurfNTurf wrote:I'm always the voice of dissent in these types of threads, but I've never ran more than three miles at once in my entire life. I do pretty OK in the mountains.

Living at sea level preparing for 14ers, I trained in the gym on a stairmaster and by walking on a treadmill at max incline. Now that I live in Denver, I mostly just get above treeline every 5-7 days. That's it. If I get stuck in the city for a weekend or two in a row I do a difficult nearby training hike such as Mt. Falcon or Mt. Morrison.

I can cruise through 6,500 feet and 15 miles, but I doubt my ability to run a 5K. Running isn't the end-all be-all training method.


I agree with this. I could run a few miles slowly if needed, but don't enjoy it at all. Meanwhile, my wife runs several times a week and is training for a marathon. When we are in the mountains I am faster than she is (our pace is pedestrian since we come from Kansas, so altitude is more of an issue). I really don't train at all except hike around on random trails in Kansas now and then, do a lot of walking. I'll never be a speedster but it works for me.

User avatar
Posts: 640
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:38 am
Location: Golden/Lakewood, Colorado

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby kushrocks » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:19 am

SurfNTurf wrote: I can cruise through 6,500 feet and 15 miles, but I doubt my ability to run a 5K. Running isn't the end-all be-all training method.


I totally agree with Jeff. I do okay in the mountains and I dont run at all. Running is not the only way to train for endurance in the mountains especially for people with knee problems. I like the stairs and and elipical with interval training and mixed intensity. Also, swimming is great as an all around low impact full body workout that will also teach your body to work with less oxygen (just like in the mountains). Lets not forget you should incorporate weight training here as well. Your body needs muscle strength as well as endurance.
" The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain
"Danger in Alpinism is just part of the game. As soon as you eliminate the danger you have just every other sport." Febrizio Zangrilli
“The best climber in the world is the one who is having all the fun.” – Alex Lowe
"To travel, to experience and learn, that is to live" - Sherpa Tensing Norgay (first person to Summit Mt. Everest)
"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit" - Edward Abbey
" Don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone. Some of your best life experiences and opportunities will transpire only after you dare to loose."

User avatar
Posts: 211
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:26 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby jrs1965 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:21 am

I'm with "illusion7il" on hiking the Manitou Incline...

User avatar
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:15 pm
Location: Glenwood Springs

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby ctlee » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:27 am

Here's another vote for strength training from a fellow female--I'm a runner, too but found that basic exercises-squats, lunges, etc, and the stairclimber, for legs made a HUGE difference in how I feel during and after hikes and climbs. Cardiovascular fitness will make those long hauls and uphills seem easier but so will having nice strong legs. It will also protect your knees and ankles and lengthen your climbing career!
Live as if you were to die tomorrow-learn as if you were to live forever-----Mahatma Gandhi

User avatar
Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:00 pm
Location: Jackson, WY

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby Upstate Hiker » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:30 am

My name is Jeff, and I cruise up mountains.

SurfNTurf wrote:I'm always the voice of dissent in these types of threads, but I've never ran more than three miles at once in my entire life. I do pretty OK in the mountains.

Living at sea level preparing for 14ers, I trained in the gym on a stairmaster and by walking on a treadmill at max incline. Now that I live in Denver, I mostly just get above treeline every 5-7 days. That's it. If I get stuck in the city for a weekend or two in a row I do a difficult nearby training hike such as Mt. Falcon or Mt. Morrison.

I can cruise through 6,500 feet and 15 miles, but I doubt my ability to run a 5K. Running isn't the end-all be-all training method.

User avatar
Posts: 1373
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:44 pm

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby Dave B » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:36 am

SurfNTurf wrote:I'm always the voice of dissent in these types of threads, but I've never ran more than three miles at once in my entire life. I do pretty OK in the mountains.

Living at sea level preparing for 14ers, I trained in the gym on a stairmaster and by walking on a treadmill at max incline. Now that I live in Denver, I mostly just get above treeline every 5-7 days. That's it. If I get stuck in the city for a weekend or two in a row I do a difficult nearby training hike such as Mt. Falcon or Mt. Morrison.

I can cruise through 6,500 feet and 15 miles, but I doubt my ability to run a 5K. Running isn't the end-all be-all training method.


I used to agree with this.

I'm a large framed, over-pronating, shin-splinting, heel-striker who's always been prone to overuse injuries, especially from attempting to run. I started running again about 8 months ago. This time however, I started very slowly. I'd typically run one minute, walk four and then repeat 5-6 times and slowly increase the run time or decrease the walk time each week. It was very trying on the patience as I took almost two months to get to the point of running a full mile without stopping. However, I eventually worked my way up to being able to run for much greater extended periods of time, much greater distances and on steeper, more uneven trails.

In my opinion, there is no equivalent to the increase in lung capacity (ex-smoker), endurance, balance or ankle strength I've achieved from running.

In regards to resting heart rate mentioned above, mine has dropped by 12 bpm (down to 57-58 bpm) since I starting running, that's the biggest measure of improvement for me.

The big caveat is that I do most of my running on trails. I can run on trails all day without problems. I can't run much more than 2 miles on asphalt without screaming "uncle."
"There is no cheating in climbing, only lying." - Semi-Rad

User avatar
Posts: 1544
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:33 pm
Location: Arvada, CO

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby coloradokevin » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:53 am

kaitimae wrote:I have a question for some of you more experienced hikers...

I'm still relatively new to hiking, and only have 2 14er summits to my name (Grays and Democrat). I love love love hiking. But I am having a hard time reaching even the easier summits. (Quandry, Bierstadt twice, and wasn't able to get any adjoining peaks on the ones I did summit.)

I do need to lose some weight, and I'm positive that will help a lot. (And by some, I mean probably close to a hundred pounds.) I've been working hard on changing my diet and making exercise a regular part of my life.

In the meantime though - is there anything I can do to make getting up mountains easier? Would it be helpful for me to hike more feet at a lower elevation, or would I be better off just trying to get as much high elevation hiking as possible in?

My main problem is that I have a harder time catching my breath that high up. My legs are very strong, thanks to 3x/week spin classes! And if I had all day, I would summit more. I'm quite persistent. :-D But when bad weather is rolling in or my hiking partners have summitted and are ready to go home, I don't have much choice.

Thanks for any ideas you all may have. No matter what I won't let this stop me from trying... hiking anywhere, even without a summit, is still a thrill. =)



Honestly, though it sounds a bit pathetic in its simplicity, just hike as much as possible. I used to be a reasonably accomplished recreational distance runner, but I don't do much of it these days because I always seemed to end up with running related injuries. Regardless, I've seen marathoners crash on fairly easy 14'er summit climbs, simply because they aren't accustomed to that form of exercise and those elevations. Walking up a very steep hill for hours is a bit different than running over flat terrain, even if both exercises require leg muscles.

If being overweight is part of the problem you believe you're experiencing, then at least realize that each hike will seem easier as you shed the pounds in the process. Think about it: if you can carry an extra "100 lbs" to the summit, imagine how much faster you'll climb the peak without that weight!

In the mean time, I'd pick any hike that will get you some decent hill climbs. If you live in the Front Range (or really anywhere west of I-25 in Colorado) like many of us, you're certainly in luck for that task. I find that picking an open space with a good uphill, and then climbing that hill several times each week, makes my legs a lot stronger for summit climbs. Obviously some training at altitude is ideal, but a simple jaunt over to Golden, Boulder, or Morrison provides easy access to some pretty decent hill climbs (areas where you can get 500-1,000 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile). If you want to notice your improvement while using these climbs, simply start timing yourself up the hills you typically climb... as the minutes drop off of your climb time, you'll know you're getting results.

The other thing you can do is pick some weekend hikes in the mountains that don't necessarily climb 14'ers. There's no reason to feel like you aren't training by going out for a 5-10 mile hike with a couple of thousand feet of elevation gain. Many hikes that fit this criteria are available in the 10,000-12,000 foot elevation range, and they'll provide good training for your legs, without requiring quite as much stamina (and acclimation) as a 14'er. From Denver you can reach hundreds of these hikes in less than an hour: Chief Mountain near Squaw Pass, Herman Lake off of I-70, hikes in the James Peak Wilderness, hikes in the Mt. Evans Wilderness, hikes in the Lost Creek Wilderness, and even places like S. Boulder/Bear Peak in Boulder.

I'm sure this reply probably sounds a bit over simplified, but I still believe that hiking is the single best method of training for hiking. The more of it you do, the stronger you'll be at it. It is good to push yourself from time to time, but remember that it's also important to pick some hikes where you won't be killing yourself every time (lets face it, no one will keep up a task that isn't fun -- do some hard climbs when you're feeling up for it, and enjoy some easier climbs when you aren't).

If you don't live in a mountainous region, you can still have some luck by finding local hills to train on. I lived in (flat) Ohio prior to moving to Colorado, and I used to train on the stairs that went up a dam near my old house. It was only about 100 vertical feet, but I'd run the stairs about 10-20 times per workout depending on the goals for that day. It isn't as ideal as climbing mountains, but it still worked. And even that was more fun than running on a treadmill in a gym.

User avatar
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:18 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby wrchad23 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:04 am

Amateur bodybuilder, runner, athlete, hiker over the last 10 years.

Nutrition is 85% the entire equation but that will take forever to get into.

Squats
Deadlifts
Lunges
Good mornings
Planks
Hyper extensions
Pullups
Bench
Rows

paced running (cruising speed)
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sprints, jump rope, hill sprints, etc

I'd recommend weights 3x a week concentrating on a push/pull/legs or full body routine then 4-5x cardio days. I'd recommned 1x HIIT and the rest paced cardio (running, bike, whatever to get your heart rate up)

User avatar
Posts: 340
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:43 pm
Location: Denver, Co

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby CRAIGO » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:04 am

My 2 cents:

Strengthen your legs and core. Since we are coming up on gym weather, do squats and other leg lifting. In my most successful 14er climbing year (2011), I lifted a lot in the late winter and spring. When spring comes, shift your running to trails. Get some elevation gain on your runs. There is a good group that runs every Thursday. It's a good group of people and they run a lot of cool trails.

http://denvertrailrunners.org/

User avatar
Posts: 1001
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:57 am

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby Duffus Kentucky Climber » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:30 am

NOBODY mentioned stretching. Good for getting the muscles ready for excercise and for warming down afterward, but the latest news is that it is one of the best ways to prevent sclerosis of the vessels as you age. Wha? (We all plan to be older and still having fun, don't we?)
My wife and I hike/train at 1200', not 12,000' and find that Rcizzle's recommendation of hiking with weighted packs makes a big difference in preparing for hiking 14ers. I would only run[i][/i] if someone is aiming a shotgun at me.
It looks like the ridge is just right up there!

User avatar
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:56 am

Re: Training for 14ers

Postby TT BOY » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:40 am

Mt Galbraith

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 4 guests